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Snake Bytes, 3/9: Souza not phoning it in

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Sorry this is a bit late. Was seeing Mrs. SnakePit off, as she’s going to a wedding in San Diego. I only have two words to describe this home alone weekend: pants optional. :)

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Team news

[dbacks.com] Souza dazzles with 1st D-backs HR, diving grab - This is the Souza the D-backs hoped they were getting when they acquired him from the Rays. Arizona wants offense in the middle of the order and solid defense in right field. Souza may not fully replicate J.D. Martinez’s production from last season after he departed via free agency, but the 28-year-old has shown the potential to be very close to that. “It’s been nice to be out here,” Souza said. “I think every time I’ve been out there I’ve had some type of action to see where I’m at, as far as defense. It’s a positive. Just been working on timing, trying to get my feet back underneath me. Takes time. Little bit more on time today. We’ll take it as a positive.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke's velocity down in latest tune-up - Every spring, a notion creeps into the back of Zack Greinke’s mind. He seems to know, based on the results of his decorated career, that it is not rational. He seems to understand he should ignore it. But the Diamondbacks’ ace can’t help but worry there might be something to it. “Every year, I get nervous that it’s not working good enough and that it’s not going to come fast enough,” Greinke said. “Same thing this year. I think it’s going to be ready, but in the back of my mind I’m always a little nervous that it’s not actually going to be there and be ready by the time the season starts.”

[Arizona Sports] Zack Greinke is nervous: Why that’s good news for Diamondbacks - “I’ve felt good by Opening Day every year,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that I did good Opening Day or early in the year, but every year I’ve felt ready, like, throughout my entire career.” Then an argument could be made that the nervousness Greinke feels is a good thing. That it serves as motivation to put the work in. “Probably,” he said. “If you don’t you might not spend the time needed to get ready. That’s usually what happens, too. I’m so bad early on that I have to really, really pick up the pace. This year, like I said, I tried to pick up the pace earlier — I said it on one our first meetings — that I tried to be ready faster this time. It hasn’t been the case. Hopefully, it will. I’m putting in an effort to get ready.”

[For The Win] Zack Greinke: ‘Every year, I get nervous that it’s not working good enough’ - When asked about radar readings on Tuesday, Greinke explained that low velocities in spring training are nothing new for him, and that it’s the consistency of his pitches more than the speed that worries him. “It happens all the time: I watch the ball come out of my hand, and I can see the ball go all the way to the glove, and it looks like the slowest pitch ever,” he said. “But if the swing’s alright, it doesn’t really matter too much. If it’s fast enough that they have to respect it some, that it makes my offspeed good — if it’s 85 and they have to respect it, that’s fine. If it’s 90 and they’re not respecting it, that’s a problem. More important than the numbers is how they’re reacting."

[Arizona Sports] Godley looking to build on last year’s success - “The one thing that he doesn’t have this year is that he’s not going to be a secret,” Lovullo said. “He’s got a league full of people that understand the action of his pitches and for those teams that he threw very well against, I’m sure they’re looking for a little bit of payback. So it’s time for Zack to make the necessary subtle, easy, quiet adjustments; continue learning from those around him that have pitched more innings than he has; but to remember that he had a lot of meaningful time down the stretch and he was a key part of this and he’s ready for this next step.”

[CBS Sports] Diamondbacks 2018 team season preview: Poised to strike again - Last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks snuck up on everyone. The Diamondbacks, who hadn’t enjoyed a winning season since 2011, had overhauled their front office and coaching staff during the winter, leading most to assume a rebuild was coming. But the new showrunners decided to give the old core another shot -- it paid off. Now the Diamondbacks will try again to dethrone the Dodgers, who are perhaps more attentive toward their Arizona-based rivals. There’s no doubt Arizona should be in contention for a playoff spot all season long. But what are the biggest points of interest?

[NorthEast Valley News] Communication is key this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks - “It’s just understanding that even though it’s the same guys, it’s going to be a different team,” Bradley said. “We’re going to have a different style of play and we’re going to win differently than last year.” Bradley believes that this team can make a push to the playoffs again and is confident that the team is in better shape than others in the league. “We are a playoff team and we know that were returning some of the same guys and we have a lot better feeling then some of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs or don’t have as many returning guys,” Bradley said.

[The Athletic] Chase Field’s new humidor will take a bite out of the Diamondbacks offense - [Subscription required] While the air-ball revolution has done wonders for players like Lamb, hitting nearly 40 percent of his batted balls in the air will almost surely prove less effective at home in 2018. In the most extreme example, he could hit more like Tim Beckham did a year ago – remaining a useful contributor, but surely not an All-Star. On the flip side, batters that profile as singles hitters should see very little change, and Ketel Marte is just that type of hitter... Chris Owings falls into a similar category. The lighter-hitting D-Backs should see far less of an impact than their power-hitting teammates.

And, elsewhere...

[USA Today] A sampling of MLB players guaranteed more money than Mike Moustakas in 2018 - Mike Moustakas hit a Kansas City Royals record 38 home runs in 2017, making his second All-Star team. Even at age 29, it seemed a prime time to enter the free agent market, where in Major League Baseball's salary structure Moustakas could expect to max out his future earnings. But this grimmest of off-seasons for free agents hit Moustakas hardest. Thursday, he agreed to a one-year deal to return to Kansas City. He not only missed out on multiyear riches, but will take a cut in guaranteed salary - from $8.7 million to $6.5 million - in 2018.

[Sporting News] Facebook gets exclusive rights to 25 afternoon MLB games - In a move that further confirms the shift in how sports leagues are delivering their content to fans, MLB and Facebook have struck a deal under which the social networking platform gets exclusive rights to 25 afternoon games this season, Bloomberg News first reported via Twitter. Most of the MLB games Facebook will webcast are on Wednesdays, and the package begins April 4 with Phillies vs. Mets. Also on the docket: Brewers vs. Cardinals on April 11; Royals vs. Blue Jays on April 18; and Diamondbacks vs. Phillies on April 26, a Thursday

[CBS Sports] Bauer implies MLB censored his Twitter account - Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer is no stranger to Twitter controversy. He told one Twitter user to “quit life” last February and has also had multiple internet shouting matches over politics. On Thursday, Bauer took to Twitter to implore his fellow players to be “leaders politically.” He also claims MLB tried to censor him on political matters.